Why and how did you became a Yoga instructor?
I never thought that I would teach Yoga – for many years, yoga was about rehabilitating my body following major spinal surgery, and just helping me manage life. But over time the practice came to be more and more important to me, and continued to transform me beyond my initial aims of dealing with pain and physical limitation. Looking back, having such a strong reason to practice regularly was actually a blessing, though it was difficult.
It brought me to study more, and I began to learn about the philosophy underlying the physical practices many of us are starting with. I also began to learn about Ayurveda, and to meet inspiring teachers around the world once I left New Zealand and found that yoga was beginning to show up in many places I travelled.
So though it had never been my intention initially, by the time I was living in London and practising yoga daily. I resolved to go deeper and went to India to study my first teacher training program at the Sivananda ashram in Uttarkashi, north of Rishikesh. It gave me the foundational tools to start sharing yoga practice in Barcelona, and as I settled here I met so many wonderful practitioners and teachers here, leading eventually to helping create two yoga studios, focus on teaching, and developing many retreats and events. It’s almost like coming to Yoga and then continuing along this path of life has had its own momentum. The more I realised it gave me great joy to teach yoga, the more I saw that I wanted to centre my life in helping others find well being and peace in themselves just as my own teachers had helped me.
I feel lucky to have had the guidance and support I’ve received, to have had the support in developing my own practice and teaching, and to have had these opportunities now to share what I’ve learnt and have positive benefit to the community of people around me.
Have you any tips to give to the future students?
- The most important thing is to develop a personal Yoga practice that really becomes part of your life.To some that can sound daunting, but it can really be so simple! Even a few minutes a day, taking some time to connect in with yourself, to enliven your body and honour your breath, ends up having a huge benefit over time.
- Consistency is key. You don’t have to learn very complex postures or esoteric practices, and you don’t need to practice for 2 hours to make a change – better to find something that feels good, that can fit into your daily routines, and go from there.
- Practice needs to be natural – not obsessive, not forced. If we learn to practice in a way that is about participating fully in our body and breath, rather than about a future goal of trying to attain some level of strength or flexibility, our whole system responds more positively. And we will actually “progress” more quickly into opening up the secrets and gifts that are within all of us. That way Yoga can open to touch every part of our being.
- Lastly on a little more practical side, the advice that I received from my teacher Simon Borg-Olivier (Yoga Synergy) can radically transform your approach to practice and its effects: when you’re practising: Tense less, Stretch less, Breathe less, and Think less – but, Do More!.
- Learning how to engage with posture and movement, without overstressing the nervous system, helps us gain much deeper benefits from the practice. Unfortunately there are many practices being done these days that are having the opposite effect. Creating tension in the body, blocking the free flow of energy and blood circulation, stretching the body obsessively, hyperventilating (which diminishes the benefits of Yoga for our energy levels and deeper body system functions), and overloading the mind…
- Learning good yoga avoids these problems and sets us up to more fully enjoy the incredible beauty, richness and deliciousness of our being just as it is!
Morgan Palmer Hubbard is the co-founder of Barcelona-based yoga retreats and events project NowHere Yoga, and helped found two studios, Yogaroom Barcelona and more recently Yoga Lab. He is also a director of the transformational wellness festival Agni Spirit Festival.
Morgan will be part of the BeYogui Event Summer 2019.